Today’s Lesson, Squalls

Day 14
Noon Position: 13 57.32N 120 54.69W

Course/Speed: SE 6

Wind: ENE 19 – 25

Sail: Two reefs in working jib, two reefs in main. Then, deeply reefed jib 

Bar: 1013, dropping

Sea: NE 4 – 8

Sky: Fully overcast. Squally

Cabin Temp: 88

Water Temp: 84
Miles last 24-hours: 142

Miles since departure: 1758

By noon the sky to windward darkened and so the squalls began. The first caught me flat-footed. Previous squalls had been all rain, and I had stripped to board shorts and boots in anticipation of a refreshing, not to mention needed, shower. 

As the wall of rain approached, winds went suddenly to 35 knots. One gust I saw touched 40. The rigging began to roar and wave tops were knocked off. Mo rounded. I dashed to the mast to lower the main whose number two reef still left acres too much sail aloft. Down it came to the second batten and stopped. The wind friction had outdone the weight of the sail and I had to climb the mast fifteen feet to grab the head.

Once back in the cockpit, I reeled in the working jib to a kerchief and then bore away. Still we made 7 knots, but suddenly Mo was solid as a newly planked floor; 35 gusting 40–just nothing to bother about.

Heavy, raggend on their undersides, usually two or three cells dumping rain connected by a line of low dark cloud. One after the other separated by half an hour to an hour. All afternoon. I left Mo under deeply reefed jib. Now adjusting to a squall was simply informing Monte it was time to bear away again.

Today’s lesson in squalls was brought to us by a depression forming S and E of our position. We are crossing its path, but with the luck, it will be W and N of us by the time it develops into something to worry about. 

Not wanting to play the squall game all night, I went to the storm jib before dinner. Winds obliged by immediately dropping into the teens. We wallowed in our prudence for two hours before I opened the working jib–heading SW, 6 knots. The barometer has come up two clicks since sundown.  

Sadly, this may be the last good wind for a while. 

In the evening a brown noddie attempted to board. As I stood in the companionway, he flew up to me repeatedly with what appeared to be an intention to go below and raid the wine cellar. I stepped aside. My cellar, for what it’s worth, is open to all pelagic friends. But his courage failed. He gave me a hard look and, not liking what he saw, sat himself back into the heaving sea with a shrug. 

3 Comments on “Today’s Lesson, Squalls

  1. Following closely on this incredible adventure, a pioneering and envious spirit.

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